European Union - Italy's Conte fights to form team as ally threatens new vote
28 May, 2018, 16:31
News reports said Sergio Mattarella would convene the former International Monetary Fund official Carlo Cottarelli to the presidential palace later on Monday and ask him to form a technical government that can lead Italy until a new election. "We'll see if we can start a discussion on the electoral law in parliament".
Italian Premier-Designate Giuseppe Conte addresses the media after meeting Italian President Sergio Mattarella in Rome, Sunday, May 27, 2018.
Politics in Italy have taken a dramatic turn with the tentative right-wing coalition, which formed after a March election, unraveling.
The president said Conte refused to support "any other solution" and then, faced with Mattarella's refusal to approve the choice of political novice Savona, 53, gave up his mandate to be prime minister.
"Now I am telling Mattarella that we want a date for new elections".
He will face staunch opposition from the two populist forces that won most votes in the March 4 election - the anti-establishment 5Star Movement and the far-right League.
The chance that the new government will weaken public finances and roll back a 2011 pension reform prompted Moody's to say - after markets had closed on Friday - that it may downgrade the country's sovereign debt rating.
Data last week showed German PMI data fell to a 20-month low in May indicating that economic momentum in Europe's biggest economy was faltering and European Central Bank minutes of its April meeting showed policymakers were anxious about a more pronounced slowdown in the eurozone and political uncertainty in Italy.
It had been feared that the populist coalition's proposals for a flat tax rate, allied to increased public spending, could a further explosion in see Italy's already soaring debt, breaking European Union rules.
Cottarelli said in such a case, the government's principal job "would be the ordinary administration of government and to accompany the country to elections after the month of August".
"I'll present myself to parliament with a programme which - if it wins the backing of parliament - would include the approval of the 2019 budget".
However, Salvini dismissed calls on Monday by 5-Star and a far-right ally, the Brothers of Italy, to chase Mattarella out of office.
He had watched for weeks as Five Star and the League set about trying to strike an alliance that would give Italy's hung parliament a majority.
"We will ask parliament to charge Mattarella with high treason because he has acted under foreign pressure", Brothers of Italy chief Giorgia Meloni said on La7 television channel.
The national news service ANSA released an article announcing that "impeachment" had found its way back into the Italian vocabulary as a result of Mattarella's unprecedented move. "Some things can not be done in the throes of anger", Salvini said.
It is not the first time that an Italian president has refused to appoint a minister supported by the majority of lawmakers - it has happened at least three times before, most notoriously with Silvio Berlusconi.
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